Not only is improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace an obvious ethical responsibility, it's also proven to bring better results for organizations. From boosting innovation,to helping teams perform better and retaining top talent, diversity and inclusion in the workplace brings many benefits. But the real question is, what steps can a company put in place to ensure it reaps the benefits of a more diverse and inclusive workforce?
Here we share a short 5-step plan to get your organization started, including some tips on how to implement the plan effectively.
1. Be aware of unconscious bias.
Building awareness and helping people to understand how individuals are impacted by unconscious bias is the first step to improving diversity and inclusion. Leaders should encourage every employee to review, question, and analyze their own biases. L&D teams can begin to identify and address these potential biases by having coworkers take an Implicit Association Test.
2. Review your internal policies.
It's crucial to have clear policies and incentives that not only communicate the importance of managing bias but also offer fair treatment and equal access to opportunities for all. Flexible working and representation of diversity at all levels of the organization, among internal and external stakeholders are some examples of actions to consider. Deploying a plan to enforce these policies takes time and other resources, therefore, consider appointing a Chief Diversity Officer to lead the strategy and manage this commitment.
3. Create diversity and inclusion programs.
Inclusion is ongoing — not one-off training. To have real impact and change mindsets in the organization, it is essential to offer training at all levels on topics such as unconscious bias and give opportunities to experience and practice the ideal habits and behaviors. These actions should go along with honest conversations and be supported by the top. Ask your execs to be more active, share articles, posts, and include diversity and inclusion on the agenda in meetings when suitable.
4. Integrate diversity and inclusion strategies in recruitment, training, performance management, and leadership assessment.
Challenge hiring briefs and convert all job descriptions to gender-neutral language. Make sure that underrepresented candidates are included in your interviews but be careful! Establishing quotas don’t generate real inclusion. Hiring and promotion goals may boost diversity numbers, but this won’t guarantee an inclusive culture. To retain your most talented employees, it’s critical to create the conditions that stimulate inclusion on a daily basis.
5. Measure and disseminate outcomes.
It's becoming more and more common to see companies reporting their results in terms of diversity, especially on gender parity. This is not just to get visibility, but also because it establishes behavioral standards and makes leaders accountable for results. It is also true that it might serve as inspiration for other organizations. Click here to read more about what Uber, Google, and Facebook did well and not so well in diversity and inclusion in 2019.
The 5 steps above are general recommendations to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but the most valuable advice I can offer is to listen to your employees and invest in what they care about.
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